Politics and Society

What is the subject about? 

Few subjects are as relevant to our everyday lives as Politics & Society. Amongst other things, students will study interesting concepts that affect them such as human rights, rules, equality, identity, diversity, sustainable development, power, conflict, the media, gender and democratic decision-making. In addition, students will study social systems and power structures in society and consider questions such as: Who has power? Who does not? Who abuses power? Who should have power? Studying Politics & Society gives students a real insight into people, power, how society works and the forces that shape the world we live in. It will appeal to students who wish to become more informed and active global citizens as well as those who enjoy debating and analysing the world around them. 


How is the subject assessed? 

Politics & Society can be taken at Higher or Ordinary level. Assessment is based on the course aims, objectives and learning outcomes. There are two assessment components at each level: 


I. Citizenship Project Report (20%) 

The citizenship project changes annually. Students choose one topic from a choice of four. The project requires students to research a topic of interest to them and then put their learning into action. 


II. Written Examination (80%) 

The written examination is 2.5 hours in duration. It is divided into 3 main sections. 

o Section A – short questions (answer all questions) 50 marks 

o Section B – data based questions (answer all questions) 150 marks 

o Section C – discursive essays (answer 2 out of 4 questions) 200 marks 


The examination questions will be focused on The Politics & Society specification which consists of 4 main areas covered in topics as follows : 


Power and decision making: 

– Topic 1 – Power and decision making in school 

– Topic 2 – Power and decision making at national and European level 


Active citizenship: 

– Topic 3 – Effectively contributing to communities 

– Topic 4 – Rights and responsibilities in communication with others 


Human rights and responsibilities: 

– Topic 5 – Human rights and responsibilities in Ireland 

– Topic 6 – Human rights and responsibilities in Europe & the wider world 


Globalisation and localisation: 

– Topic 7 – Globalisation and identity 

– Topic 8 – Sustainable development 


Additional Comments 

– Politics & Society is the first new Leaving Cert subject since 2007 and was first examined in June 2018. 

– “The need for a sound social and political education…has never been so great. Without it, our young people are forced to operate in the social and political world without the skills and insights that they need to be in control of their own destiny” (Kathleen Lynch, UCD Academic and one of 17 Key Thinkers on the Politics & Society course) 

– The skills of critical thinking and active citizenship that are developed through this subject will be useful to students in any future learning and in their everyday life 

– Politics and Society will be useful if you also study Geography, History, or Economics. In addition it supports and develops skills needed for Leaving Cycle English and builds on skills developed in Student Enrichment, CSPE and SPHE in Junior Cycle. 

– There is ample opportunity for classroom discussion, debate and reflection on the different ideas and perspectives. Through these methods students will develop valuable analytical and evaluation skills as they debate topical and sometimes controversial issues, study different viewpoints and form their own political opinions. 

Career Opportunities 

– Politics 

– Education 

– Sociology 

– Law 

– Anthropology 

– Philosophy 

– Media Studies 

– Journalism 

– Current Affairs 

– Media 

– Local and National Government (TD / Councillor) 

– The EU (diplomat / relations officer)